Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
Illustration by Richard Downs

Working with the Edge Flange


Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Working with the Edge Flange

The Edge Flange tool, is one of the And then I can go over here, and actually key in the real value I want.

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Watch the Online Video Course Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
2h 31m Intermediate May 21, 2014

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Real-world projects are vital to mastering SolidWorks, and sheet metal enclosures are a perfect example of a typical project. Sheet metal enclosures house and protect circuitry, wiring, and other sensitive electronic parts and frequently require customization by a professional CAD designer. So take a firsthand walk through designing a sheet metal enclosure for circuit boards and panel-mounted connectors, as well as fans, power cords, and switches, with SolidWorks. Gabriel Corbett covers the key techniques for working with in-context parts and assemblies that dynamically adjust based on the master part model. He'll show you how to use equations to drive the size of the box and calculate vent holes, work with circuit boards, and download connector components. Plus, learn how to add decals before prepping the final drawings for manufacturing.

Topics include:
  • Working with the Base and Flange tools
  • Building the rough enclosure shape
  • Designing the cover
  • Adding vents
  • Adding components
  • Cutting holes for connectors
  • Adding graphics
  • Making assembly drawings
Gabriel Corbett

Working with the Edge Flange

The Edge Flange tool, is one of the secondary building blocks, for designing in sheet metal. Use this tool to add flanges to existing edges. Also keep in mind that we can change the shape of the flange, using the Edit Flange Profile tool. Let's take a look at a few examples. I have file 1.4 open, and it's just a basically flat. Sheet metal piece. And first I'm going to go ahead and just going to choose an edge, that I want to add the edge flange to. So I can choose any one of these edges around the part, either on the top side or bottom side, of the sheet metal piece.

So in this case, I'm going to go over here to Sheet Metal, click on Edge Flange, and I'm just going to choose one of those edges. Notice I already had that one preselected, so it automatically chose that one. But if you want to change to a different one, just click over here. Hit Delete, and then choose another one, okay? Now you can see there's two different arrows. My first arrow here, allows me to drag it up and down, just to kind of give you a visual representation of how long that flange is going to be. When you're happy with it, or at least it's close, go ahead and just click once, and it turns it into a gray arrow.

And then I can go over here, and actually key in the real value I want. Also, this arrow down here, allows me to flip the direction to the other side, I can do the same thing here, with this flip arrow here as well too, I also have the option of how I want to input this value. So, in this case here, it's going to be the outer virtual sharp, and I have the option for. The inner virtual sharp, or the tangent bend. And the same thing over here with the flange position. I have the option to use it, material on the inside, material on the outside. You've got bunch of an option, how you want to place that flange.

Because the very first flange you really can't see that much difference between one or the other, but once you start getting more flanges actually on the part, you'll start seeing some interactions when you start changing whether it's an inside or an outside flange. In this case here, I'm going to make it an inside flange, and then when you're happy with it, just go ahead and click OK. Notice that's a different color, just to show you that, it's a new flange. Now I can continue on doing the same thing. Come back up here to the Edge Flange tool, click on that. This time I'm going to go ahead and grab this edge here. Drag that up, and then I'm also going to choose adjacent edge, and notice as soon as I do that, it just automatically adds that edge to the profile, and I can continue adding other additional edges, as I go around the part, and build this out however I'd like.

Once you're happy with what you have, just go ahead and click OK, and there you go. We just added a couple more. Now, notice over here in this corner. It trimmed away that corner there, and left this little piece, right here, because it's still an inside flange, so I actually had to remove or rip that material, in that corner. Now if I go back to that flange, open it up, I can click on this thing called Trim Side Bends, click OK. And you can see it actually will remove that material over there. So, if that's causing any kind of an issue, you can click on that one option, and remove that material, from your flange.

And then over here, because I did have, two adjacent edges chosen at the same time, what I have here, is it actually uses a closed corner, and actually brings that material out a little bit, to create a nice closed corner for me. So, that's one of the benefits of using the Edge Flange tool and creating multiple flanges at the same time. I can also add another additional flange. This time I'm going to add it to the top here. So, click on this inside edge. Make sure you can select it. There it is. Drag that out a little bit, and then, as soon as I, choose this edge here, it's going to cause an issue, because it's going to overlap these two flanges here in this corner.

Let's see what happens. Click on that, and actually what it does is, because it knows there's going to be an interaction, it miters both of those, automatically. And saves a lot of work, by actually adding, both those flanges at the same time, and letting SolidWorks go ahead and figure out that miter flange for you. Click OK, and there you go. I can do the same thing on outside bends as well. If I come over here and go to Edit Flange, click on this edge here, give a position, click on this edge here. Again, I can also come back here and edit the flange profile, if I wanted to, of each one of those individual flanges.

Now, they're the same length in this case, but if I want to choose one or the other, I can just highlight it here first. And then click on Edit Flange Profile. That's going to be the shape right here. Now I can add on to this, by just using a line. So I can say, up here. Over here, and maybe down here. And the one constraint, is that it has to be one enclosed boundary. And this line right here, is causing trouble for that. So if I come up here to the Trim Entities tool. Trim that out. And notice that it gives you a highlight, or a showing of what's going to happen. So, as long as we have one.

Continuous out of boundary, we should be good to go. And also, keep in mind that down here, we have the bend region. So you definitely don't want to be, adding material, or changing it too much in the bend region, because that will actually cause it to fail. Once you're happy with it, click on Finish, and then you can see, I added both those flanges at the same time, and I changed the profile of this one, using the Edit Flange Profile tool. The flange tool, is one of the most commonly used tools in sheet metal, so it really pays off, to know the basics. This is a very powerful tool, especially when you start modifying the flange, using the edit profile command.

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